Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oneness Theology

Below is a letter I wrote to a young man who believes that we are all one, and that any of the distinctions we see are illusions:

You argue that the Biblical concept of a thinking, yet omnipresent, transcendent and eternal God is incoherent:

“God is omnipresent, hence immutable and unchanging. Thinking is a process that is transitional, from moment to moment. As thoughts change, the state of the thinker changes: It requires an experience of time which is linear-sequential. Omnipresence is not linear-sequential, but boundless present.”

I must confess that I cannot get my mind around the fact that anything or anyone can live in a timeless, spaceless, and non-sequential existence, let alone to account for God’s thinking. But I don’t want to discount something or Someone simply because it/He transcends my own experience. So too the activity of sub-atomic particles that also transcends my reason! Consequently, when we contemplate other realms, we have to be cautious that we don’t overstep our knowledge. Mathematician-physicist Paul Davies has written:

“In the so-called quantum logic, the rule that something cannot both be and not be such-and-such is dropped”
(“The Mind of God,” 26)

This should give us some cause for hesitation when discussing transcendence. I would also think that this problem – the possibility thought in non-sequential timelessness – would also represent an equal philosophical problem for monistic consciousness – a religion/philosophy that denies that there is anything real outside of the one universal consciousness, which necessarily also must transcend the “illusions” of space-matter-time! Since this consciousness transcends time, wouldn’t thinking also be non-sequential and therefore impossible?

Nevertheless, revelation, science and logic compel me to believe that Someone does necessarily transcend space and time. Consequently, if an omnipotent, transcendent, and infinite God does exist, who am I to impose my finite distinctions and limitations upon Him?

I’m sure that you are willing to believe various “absurdities” – like light is both wave and particle -- based upon expert scientific testimony. How much more then should we be willing to accept imponderables regarding an infinite God!
Meanwhile, I continue to marvel at how a monist, who believes that the only reality is the oneness – the universal consciousness – can believe in justice and science which are necessarily part of the illusion, according to monistic thinking.

It seems that you hold to a compromised form of monism – that there is only one true reality, while the other “reality” is in a state of constant flux, and therefore indefinable and unreal. Therefore, you claim that the self is in constant flux and, consequently, unreal. There are many serious problems with this position.

1. This monism is still life, justice, self and science negating.
2. It also negates all the statements you have made, since they too are in flux and consequently unreal. Its logical conclusion is solipsism.
3. Even if everything you see about yourself is in flux (and consequently unreal), it fails to prove that there aren’t aspects of yourself that aren’t changing, parts that will endure. Science also, amidst all the change and expansion, acknowledges certain unchanging laws.

I don’t think that the monistic paradigm lines up with reality, a reality that you are understandably not ready to deny. Meanwhile, I’m convinced that there is another paradigm that does a far better job in describing reality – a Person who has given me the freedom (John 8:31-32) to endorse and thrive in this world without loosing perspective of a greater world to come.

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